Village Tronic ViBookJun 2nd, 2009 | By Simon
Village Tronic ViBook
: 06/2/09 – 03:21:20 AM
: Video Cards
Page 1 : Introduction
When I first saw the press release from Villagetronic, the name ViBook sounded like an Apple product accessory but boy was I wrong. Villagetronic makes accessories for both PCs and Macs to simultaneously connect multiple monitors to your machine. We've all heard of dual display – well Villagetronics lets you take it several steps further.
The ViBook is built around a graphics USB-DVI cable to expand your desktop one monitor and USB port at a time. One of the biggest advantages with increasing your desktop area is an increase in productivity. You can now save time and manage multiple windows across two or three monitors depending on the number of ViBooks you happen to have. Sound too good to be true? Let's find out!
Page 2 : ViBook Package & Contents
The ViBook is packaged in a tiny little box – good things come in small packages right? The back of the package shows a few thumbnails of the ViBook as well as a workspace with multiple monitors powered off a single notebook. The caption explains the advantages and power of using the ViBook.
Written down the side of the package are the system requirements and package contents. The ViBook comes with the ViBook cable with attached USB end, DVI male to female gender changer, DVI to VGA cable, VESA display cradle, zip ties, quickstart, transportation case and software.
Here's a picture of the case – it actually looks quite nice and resembles the packaging of retail SSD.
Inside the case we have an envelope with the drive and software:
The hard case securely holds the ViBook, DVI gender changer, and DVI to VGA cable. Hidden below the cable is the VESA mount, padding and mounting screws.
The ViBook comes ready with female ends. To plug the ViBook directly into a DVI port, you need the DVI gender changer. Alternatively, you can plug in the DVI to VGA cable for older VGA monitors.
Page 3 : ViBook Features & Specifications
Heading over to Villagetronic they redirect you to the independent ViBook website for more information on the product. You can find technical specifications from both websites but Villagetronic offers a bit more detail:
Here's what ViBook has to say about their own product:
Vibook is an innovative USB-DVI cable conceived to manage and simplify video-graphic technology. It introduces important technical performances, allowing you to add and use up to 6 monitors with any type of computer, desktop or laptop. Vibook has been created for professionals, to allow them to follow more activities simultaneously, decreasing errors and saving time and, consequently, increasing productivity.
Vibook is also useful for people that want to manage at the same time mails, documents or connecting programs at home. Vibook offers you the possibility to connect different ‘videos’ to your computer, allowing you to work on different activities simultaneously with satisfaction. You don't need to be a software developer, a student, an operator of the financial sector nor a creative person, with Vibook you can always manage your tasks in the best way, optimizing your time, your works, and the space on the working area.
Now everyone can easily enjoy the benefits of multi-monitors thanks to Vibook. Thanks to its ergonomic design and small dimension, you can choose to connect Vibook directly to the display, by using a small supplied adapter, or fix it to the monitor through a fastening bracket positioned on the back of the screen, with screws (VESA) or double-sided tape, supplied in the packaging.
The Vibook cable, connected through USB, has a higher compatibility compared to the other devices sold on the market. Its internal structure, in fact, develops a maximum consumption of 450 milliamps, for this reason it complies with USB specifications, unlike other solutions that require a bulky mains adapter plug. This characteristic, both with the heat sink, ensures a lower operational temperature and, consequently, lower energy consumption and a longer life of the product. Also for this reason, Vibook has a 3 years warranty.
Vibook transforms your computer in an easy and fast way.
Besides Vibook, you have a large range of accessories created to simplify your life and to give you a better solution in every moment.
Supplied in the packaging:
- Conversion cable VGA-DVI supplying maximum quality of the analog signal
- ‘Complete’ Licence with an important software, VTMultidisplay, with a value of 49 dollars
- Adapter for direct connection to the screen.
- Support VESA for screen fastening, through screws or double-sided tape
- Bands to keep the cables tidy (two pieces)
- High quality USB cable (1,5 m)
Optional accessories not included:
- Longer USB cable expressly conceived to ensure the best functioning with Vibook (3 m)
- High quality VGA-DVI longer cable (1,5 m)
- Additional VESA supports, to fix more screens to Vibook
Some additional features can be read here.
Page 4 : Hardware Installation
Installation of the ViBook is quite simple. For starters, if you want to mount the VESA mount, you will need to find a suitable location on your monitor. In addition, you'll need to prep the mount with the foam pads to protect the monitor and elevate the mount away from the side. Two screws hold the mount in place.
Most people are unlikely to use the VESA mount; instead they will either connect the ViBook directly to the DVI port on the monitor using the DVI gender changer or mount the ViBook to the back of the monitor with the adhesive pads and use the DVI to VGA cable. Both forms are acceptable and will provide you with the exact same performance.
If the back of your monitor is curved, you may not be able to plug the ViBook and gender changer directly to the bottom of your monitor. I found with my Samsung 2232GW, there wasn't enough space. To remedy this, you will either need your own DVI monitor cable or use the provided DVI to VGA monitor cable. I would have liked to see ViBook provide a short DVI extension cable and solve this problem. Using my own 6' DVI cable isn't an issue but it creates additional clutter behind the desk. With the cable only being single DVI, this shouldn't cost Villagetronic very much.
The resolution for me was to use the VGA cable as opposed having a DVI connection.
Once you have the ViBook connected to your monitor, plug the USB end into your laptop and you're off to software installation.
Page 5 : Software Installation
All the software required to configure the ViBook are contained in the driver CD. Upon autostart of the CD, the setup will do a quick check and determine what has already been installed. In my case, nothing. After going through the setup and registration (CD Key is provided on the envelope) the software will confirm what has been installed and you'll then be ready to configure the ViBook settings.
key settings that you as an end user must do before the ViBook works. The first is enabling the monitor and the second is determining whether or not the monitor will clone or extended to the left or the right of your primary. Once you've selected those, the rest is just fine tuning and not necessarily required: the beauty of simplicity.
Page 6 : Performance & Testing
Simply put, the ViBook does exactly what it is intended to you. It's a simple piece of hardware that increases your workable desktop area. For many years, I had a desktop with dual monitors running off one video card. When I switched to a laptop I stuck with the one monitor but now the ViBook has converted me again. Productivity has certainly increased with one monitor for MS Word and another for Excel.
There are a couple of features I really liked about the ViBook software. The first is the span button. A simple click let's me spread the selected window across both monitors. This lets me preview long lines of code without having to deal with or follow line breaks. Another great feature is the move to other window button. A simple click moves the selected window to the other monitor. This is great for moving MSN conversations or emails from the periphery monitor to your main.
The included Village Tronic ViBook software makes it incredibly easy to control the second monitor. A few clicks and you can determine what side the desktop should be expanded too, what color depth and resolution. It's basically a compact version of your display properties. For those interested, I was limited to 60Hz refresh rate. The option to increase or decrease was grayed out. Whether or not this changes if you connect the ViBook to a CRT monitor is unknown to me.
Village Tronic couldn't have made the ViBook any easier to use.
Page 7 : Conclusion
When I first heard of the ViBook I had doubts that I would truly enjoy its presence. I mean, most monitors already have the ability to extend their workspace with a second monitor.
Then I realized that two monitors aren't always enough. What if I needed 3, 4, 5 or even 6? No laptop is going to come with that many DVI or VGA ports nor will you likely have 3 video cards installed onto your PC. You will more than likely have 6 or 8 USB ports at your disposal and that's where the ViBook really shines. You won't need to fiddle with any screws or wiggle a cable to make sure all the pins line up. The USB connection is simple and always works.
When it comes to features and usability, the ViBook is incredibly simple. It only takes a few clicks before everything is running and you'll have multiple displays at your fingertips. The software suite only draws about 30MB of memory which ensures it doesn't bog down your system. Overall, I'm very pleased by the ViBook and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to boost their office productivity.
- Greatly improves productivity
- Simple to install and use
- No included DVI extension cable
- Don't expect to play first person shooters off of it
I'd like to thank VillageTronics for making this review possible.